World news story

UK National Statement at the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention: 4th Review Conference

The UK's Disarmament Ambassador Aidan Liddle renewed its wholehearted commitment to the full implementation of its Convention obligations, and to play its part in achieving a world free of landmines

First of all, let me congratulate you and your team for organising an excellent Review Conference. We can be proud of the work we have done together this week to advance our collective objectives, at a pivotal moment, in the spirit of common endeavour that characterises our Convention.

The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention has delivered significant humanitarian impact two decades after its entry into force. The UK is proud to have played an essential role in the establishment of the Convention and continues to be a firm supporter of its objectives. Our ongoing mine clearance work in the Falkland Islands, and our support to mine action around the world, demonstrate our sustained commitment to implementing the Convention.

The UK’s first Global Mine Action Programme, administered by the Department for International Development, ran from 2014 to 2018. In 2017, we announced GMAP2, investing £100 million over three years in 15 countries. Our programmes focus on supporting countries where the greatest number of people continue to suffer the effects of landmine contamination. Since 2014, this Programme has released over 270 million square metres of land.

However, there is more to do. We agreed in Maputo that we would work towards a mine-free world by 2025. In Oslo, we have renewed that commitment and must redouble our efforts to achieving it.

Mr President,

Central to achieving this goal is to accelerate progress on clearance, so there are no new victims of landmines. For our part, the UK will continue to prioritise and invest in landmine and ERW clearance, associated mine risk education and building national capacity and capability.

If we are to achieve our goal, we must increase funding. Donor funding for mine action has fluctuated significantly over the last ten years. Mine impacted states, as well as new and existing donors, need to make a concerted effort to identify the most effective ways to work together to deliver the necessary resource. But we also need to consider options to generate new funding. The UK strongly supports recent proposals to explore a wide range of alternative funding mechanisms, as a way to ensure long-term, sustainable funding.

This Review Conference has also highlighted some new and emerging challenges that we must be ready to address over the next five years.

To deliver the Mine Free 2025 goal, we will need to step up our efforts on clearing new IED contamination, while also continuing efforts to clear the legacy contamination from previous conflicts. The Convention already creates distinct obligations to clear anti-personnel mines of all types, including mines of an improvised nature. We need to continue to address this as an operational clearance issue and consider technical innovation where necessary.

We also recognise the importance of providing high quality support to mine victims. We continue to believe that integrated support for mine victims through broad health, social and economic development programmes is the most effective, efficient and, importantly, sustainable approach to address the long-term needs of victims.

Mr President, we welcome your focus on mainstreaming gender across all aspects of the Convention’s work, with a particular focus on practical outputs. We support the active and meaningful participation of women across all aspects of Convention implementation, particularly in leadership roles. Gender is also an important consideration in operational mine action, to deliver effective mine risk education and opportunities for economic integration. The UK has provided funding for an all-women demining team in Afghanistan. We are also pleased to have co-sponsored Finland’s paper.

Finally and fundamentally, we must renew our efforts to universalise our Convention, as a global framework and as a guarantee that the scourge of landmines is eliminated forever. We are pleased to see a high number of States participating as observers. We continue to call on all states to adhere to the standards and norms of the Convention and encourage states not already party to accede to the Convention without delay. To achieve full universalisation, we need to continue outreach and work to better understand and overcome the inhibitors to full membership.

In conclusion, Mr President, the UK is proud to renew its wholehearted commitment to the full implementation of its Convention obligations, and to play its part in achieving a world free of landmines.

Published 29 November 2019